A lawyer and law firm must treat all persons in a manner consistent with best practices in human rights law and the Code of Professional Conduct, and have a proportionate and principled written policy with regards to such practices.1

These best practices include management and conduct of the practice of the lawyer or law firm that respects equity and diversity.2

In considering policies selected for these best practices, in the context of the particular lawyer or law firm, the lawyer or law firm shall consider all relevant factors to that lawyer or law firm including:

     (a) the development of fair and unbiased criteria in the recruitment, selection, and retention of clerks, lawyers, and staff;

     (b) management policies appropriate for the lawyer or law firm including anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, parental leave, accommodations for persons with disabilities, cultural competence, and 

     (c) a meaningful process to enforce such policies.3


1 Human Rights Act, RSNS 1989, c 214, s. 3. Employment Equity Act, SC 1995, c 44. Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Code of Professional Conduct, Halifax: Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, 2012, section 6.3 and 3.1; consider element #9 of the Management System for Ethical Legal Practice.

2 Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society: Vision and Values

3 Shah v. George Brown College, 2009 HRTO 920 (CanLII) [Ont. Human Rights Tribunal]

Additional Resources



Abella, Rosalie Silberman (October 1984) Report of the Commission on Equality in Employment

Babiuk, Buchert, Chiekwe & Hong (November 2014) “Cultural Competency and Diversity in the Nova Scotia Legal Profession: Final Summary Report

Brown, Jennifer (September 20, 2013) “Survey of lawyers to examine experience of sexual minorities in profession”, Legal Feeds

Dumke, Kathryn and Kevin Hong (July 2015) Equity and Diversity in Legal Practice.

Morse, Gail H. (July 2009) “Is It Time for a LGBT Call to Action?”, Embracing Diversity: Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association’s Diversity Newsletter

Rouse, Hanna N. (18 November 2010) “Lawyers Discuss LGBT Barriers”, The Harvard Crimson

Addressing Discriminatory Barriers Facing Aboriginal Law Students and Lawyers (April 2000) Aboriginal Law Graduates Working Group, Law Society of British Columbia.

BLAC Report on Education: Redressing Inequity – Empowering Black Learners (1994) Black Learners Advisory Committee (BLAC)

Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees: Final Report (March 11, 2014) Law Society of Upper Canada

Employment Equity in the Legal Profession in Nova Scotia (2012) Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society

Employment Equity within the NSBS Membership (September 2014) R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd.

Equality and Diversity (November 2014) Solicitors Regulation Authority

Equality and Diversity Requirements: SRA Handbook (July 2012) Solicitors Regulation Authority

Equality and Diversity Rules of the BSB Handbook (September 2012) Bar Standards Board

Equality in Employment: A Royal Commission Report. General Summary; Published in Canadian Woman Studies (1984) Vol. 6, no. 4, p 5-7.

Equity portal: Developing an equity strategy in your legal workplace, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society 

Executive Summary: Retention of Women in  Private Practice Working Group (May 2008) Law Society of Upper Canada

Final Report: Aboriginal Bar Consultation (January 29, 2009) Equity Initiatives Department, Law Society of Upper Canada

Fostering Employment Equity and Diversity in the Nova Scotia Legal Profession (August 2000) Employment Equity Guidelines Committee: Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society

Kirby says gay lawyers still face discrimination” (24 June 2010) Lawyers Weekly

Lawyers with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Equality (2004) Disability Research Working Group, Law Society of British Columbia

Our Equality and Diversity Strategy 2014-2017, Law Society of Scotland

Practicing Law: Minority Groups: Final Report (June 2008) Race Relations Committee: Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society

Reasonable Accomodation Checklist: Developing a Policy, Manitoba Human Rights Commission 

Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr., Prosecution: digest of finding and recommendations Nova Scotia. Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr., Prosecution, December 1989

Touchstones for Change : Equality, Diversity and Accountability (1993) Task Force on Gender Equality in the Legal Profession: Canadian Bar Association

Case Law 

Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 SCR 143, 1989 CanLII 2 (SCC)

Cardinal v. Douglas College and another, 2013 BCHRT 64 (CanLII)

E.J. v. Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, 2014 ONSC 3277 (CanLII)

Gichuru v. The Law Society of British Columbia (No. 9), 2011 BCHRT 185 (CanLII)

Johal v. Dhesi, 2012 BCSC 550 (CanLII)

Law Society of Upper Canada v. Terence John Robinson, 2013 ONLSAP 18 (CanLII)

Moore v. British Columbia (Education), [2012] 3 SCR 360, 2012 SCC 61 (CanLII)

R. v. Armitage, 2015 ONCJ 64 (CanLII)

R. v. Fraser, 2011 NSCA 70 (CanLII)

R. v. Gladue, [1999] 1 SCR 688, 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC)

R. v. Kapp, [2008] 2 SCR 483, 2008 SCC 41 (CanLII)

R. v. Kennedy, 2013 ONSC 6419 (CanLII)

R. v. S. (R.D.), [1997] 3 SCR 484, 1997 CanLII 324 (SCC)

R. v. Spence, [2005] 3 SCR 458, 2005 SCC 71 (CanLII)

R. v. Twoyoungmen, 1998 ABPC 135 (CanLII)

R. v. “X”, 2014 NSPC 95 (CanLII)

Approved by Council on July 22, 2016